A13 chips for 2019 iPhone move toward mass-production


Right to Repair
Apple's first 5nm chips are expected to ship in iPhone and iPad this year.
Photo: iFixit

Apple chip-maker TSMC is almost ready to start mass-producing next-generation A13 chips for this year’s new iPhone lineup.

The A13 will employ an “enhanced version” of TSMC’s N7+ fabrication process, according to a new report. It is likely to be Apple’s last 7-nanometer chip following the launch of TSMC’s new 5nm foundry at the Southern Taiwan Science Park.

TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, has been Apple’s primary chip supplier for many years now. It has helped produce the company’s most impressive chips, including the A12 Bionic found in its latest iOS devices.

Soon, TSMC will start mass-producing the A13 for this year’s iPhone refresh.

A13 is on its way

Those A13 chips will use a new fabrication process, dubbed N7 Pro, according to Chinese newspaper Commercial Times. It is said to be an “enhanced version” of the existing N7+ process that is currently being used for TSMC’s 7nm chips.

“The process will be ready for volume production later in the second quarter,” adds Digitimes. But it’s not yet clear whether the A13 will be the first N7 Pro chip that TSMC churns out.

The A13 will likely be the last flagship Apple processor manufactured using a 7nm process. TSMC has now kicked off risk production of new 5nm chips at a new foundry in Taiwan.

It expects to start mass-producing 5nm chips in late 2019 or early 2020. Later, the same foundry will have 3nm manufacturing facilities installed, the report claims.

What can we expect from the A13?

Apple’s next-generation processor is likely to bring the same improvements we see every year.

That means we can look forward to even faster processing and graphics — as well as further enhancements to the already-impressive Neural Engine for things like Face ID. We can also expect improvements in power consumption.